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US envoy in Europe: 'Drumbeat of war is sounding loud'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko ahead of the NATO-Russia Council at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Jan. 12, 2022. (Reuters photo)

The ambassador of the United States in Europe issued a stark warning of war in Eastern Europe amid American accusations of Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s border.

However, Michael Carpenter, the US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), however, said on Thursday Washington and its allies are supporting ongoing dialogue to tamp down tensions with Russia.

“We're facing a crisis in European security. The drumbeat of war is sounding loud, and the rhetoric has gotten rather shrill,” said Carpenter.

The US envoy made the remarks in an interview with reporters in Vienna following a meeting of the OSCE between the officials from the US, Europe and Russia, and after the conclusion of an unusual session of three diplomatic meetings on the continent this week. 

 “There's close to 100,000 troops on the Russian side of its border with Ukraine. Their presence and the live fire measures being carried out are raising many questions about Moscow's intention,” Carpenter said.

The OSCE meeting on Thursday in Vienna was focused on discussions surrounding Russia’s alleged military buildup on Ukraine’s border. Both nations are members of the security group. 

This comes as Russia said on Thursday the talks with the West over the situation in Ukraine have hit a “dead end.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that there is no reason to hold a new round of negotiations over security guarantees demanded by Moscow regarding the NATO’s eastward expansion and Kiev’s membership in the US-led military alliance.

Ryabkov said the United States and its NATO allies were "not ready to meet our key requirements," and only intended to discuss issues of secondary importance to Moscow.

He also said Russian military specialists were providing options to President Vladimir Putin in case the situation around Ukraine worsened, but diplomacy must be given a chance.

The Russian government last month made demands on NATO and Ukraine about the future of their relationship. Moscow demanded the Western military alliance deny Ukraine membership to NATO and to roll back its military deployments.

Moscow also proposed that the US not establish any military bases in former Soviet states that are not part of NATO, nor develop a bilateral military alliance with them.

Ryabkov on Monday repeated Russian demands including a ban on further NATO expansion and an end to the alliance's activity in the central and eastern European countries that joined it after 1997, according to Reuters.

"We underscore that for us it’s absolutely mandatory to make sure that Ukraine never, never, ever becomes a member of NATO," he said.

"We do not trust the other side, so to say. We need iron-clad, waterproof, bulletproof, legally binding guarantees. Not assurances, not safeguards, guarantees with all the words 'shall, must', everything that should be put in, 'never ever becoming a member of NATO'. It’s a matter of Russia’s national security."

Sherman said, "We will not allow anyone to slam closed NATO's open-door policy, which has always been central to the NATO alliance."

"We will not forego bilateral cooperation with sovereign states that wish to work with the United States, and we will not make decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine, about Europe without Europe, or about NATO without NATO," she added.

Western governments accuse Russia of planning an invasion of Ukraine amid a military buildup near the Ukrainian border. Moscow rejects the allegation and insists that deployments are defensive in nature.

Recently, Moscow has been especially unsettled by the prospect of Ukraine being admitted to NATO and has warned of serious measures to counteract that scenario. Last month, the Russian government put forth a number of security guarantees that it said it wanted from the West, in particular about Ukraine, and offered to take certain measures in exchange.

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